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  • August 13th, 2021

    Think about the last time you walked into a convenience store. You probably remember a coffee stop, racks of grab and go snacks, magazines and a wall of glass door refrigerators or coolers filled with chilled drinks and cold foods. What you may not remember are the items that were strategically positioned between the door and your destination area. Those are the products that c-store retailers use to increase basket size and profits. Snacks and candy purchase are an important contributor to the bottom line. The salty and sweet products usually carry an above average profit margin and 47% of the purchases in this category are unplanned or impulse buys Additionally, greater than 80% of these purchases are consumed within an hour of the transaction. You can pretty much rely on the customers that make these purchases to be ready to buy every time they come in the store. They may just need a little motivation along the way. Use these three tips to drive more impulse buys and intentional purchases.

    Customers are entering a store with a specific purchase in mind; to purchase a cold drink or possibly a grab and go sandwich. To increase the potential for purchases in the candy and snack category you need to emphasize those products and tempt them with the promise of something sweet or salty to satisfy their cravings. You can do this by strategically arranging these items on the way to and from destination areas like the glass door beverage refrigerator, the fresh food station and even on the path to the check out counter. Any place that your customer is standing still for a few moments is a good place to display these items. Adding a display of your top selling items in this category right on the checkout counter creates one last opportunity to tempt them into that purchase and to increase their basket size.

    Leverage the Checkout Experience
    The sales counter is where your customers spend the most time standing still. Approximately 17% of a customer’s total time in a convenience store is spent in the checkout process with 23% of sales for snacks and candy are generated during this time. The checkout counter is a great opportunity for you to drive impulse purchases so it is well worth it to spend some time to merchandise this area well. Consider these three options:

    • Counter Unit
    Because space is limited, you want to display your best-selling items and brands in this area. Roughly 75% of candy sales that are generated from a counter unit are incremental in part, because customers are already in the frame of mind to make a purchase. Along with displaying candy and snacks, if you have a large counter area, a countertop merchandising refrigerator stocked with your best selling cold drinks can increase impulse purchases in the beverage category. To satisfy a sweet tooth, you can also feature baked goods at the counter in a self-serve display dome so customers can easily serve themselves and you can charge a premium for fresh baked product.

    • Under The Counter
    Once you’ve maxed out your counterspace, you can look to add product displays under the counter. This area can be merchandised in a way that is complementary to the counter display but it is also a good area to repeat the top sellers and add items that don’t display well or require too much space to be placed on the countertop. Retailers who have added merchandising of snacks and candies under the counter see an average of 10 to 12% lift in the sales of the items with a 36% of frontend store conversions.

    • Checkout Que
    While part of being a ‘Convenience’ store is the implied promise that you will get customers in and out as quickly as possible, research has shown that creating a waiting line area where a buyer lingers for a very short period of time can increase the conversion rate of countertop purchases by nearly 56%. If you are going to spend the time to merchandise your sales counter, potentially adding a beverage cooler or additional candy and snack display, you can stack the deck in your favor by building in a brief wait time for customers and the opportunity for them to reach for temptation.

    Show Me A Sign!
    Clear, easy-to-read, simple signage is a must to make your point with your customers while they are in the store. It may seem almost too obvious but using clear and simple signage to promote specials or to even incite temptation for a snack will help you increase impulse purchases for these lucrative add-ons.

    One of the biggest disconnects that is seen in c-stores is not having enough signage that directs customers where you want their attention to be placed. Many store owners or managers are displaying point of purchase signs provided by manufacturers but this may not be in the best interest of the store. When you have a bundle or a price-driven offer on a product that makes you money, it is best to promote that offer with signage right by the product so that you grab their attention and give them the chance to make that decision with the product immediately in front of them. Signage that is too complicated or doesn’t highlight the promotional offer won’t spark an action from the customer. And having a promotion or special offer without having signage to tell your customers is like not having any promotion at all.

    When a customer comes into your store, they are ready to make a purchase. Adding a small, but profitable, impulse buy to that purchase adds up and it costs you far less to capture these incremental sales than it does to get more customers into your store. A little effort and some small investments in equipment can provide you with some big gains.

    Drive Impulse Sales and Profits in Your C-Store